Grenada Government Losing Upper Hand in Parliament

Two former government ministers joined the four opposition Ministers of Parliament in the House of Representatives last week and scuppered attempts by Finance Minister Nazim Burke to raise levies on fees on the insurance industry by preventing passage of an amendment bill that he was piloting through the House.

Former Foreign Minister Karl Hood and Michael Church, an ex-Minister of Environment, voted with Opposition Leader Keith Mitchell and New National Party (NNP) ministers Roland Bhola, Elvin Nimrod and Clarice Modeste-Curwen in defeating the Insurance Amendment Bill 2012.

Church resigned from the National Democratic Congress(NDC) government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas in 2010, and Hood quit about two months ago.

The two now sit as parliamentary backbenchers with two other former NDC minister – Peter David and Joseph Gilbert.

David, general secretary of the NDC, is overseas, as are Environment Minister Glynis Roberts and Sylvester Quarless.

In presenting the bill, Burke said it would allow for companies conducting “longterm insurance business’’ in Grenada to pay a deposit of $500,000 to the Grenada Authority for the Regulation of Financial Institutions (GARFIN).

Burke, who is leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, said the bill also “seeks to impose a levy of one percent on the gross insurance premium income, net of premium funds, on insurance companies conducting general insurance business and associations of insurance underwriters.” 

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